Jump to content


Photo
* * * * * 1 votes

Australian 6 Manufacturing plant


  • Please log in to reply
748 replies to this topic

#151 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,454 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 14 November 2010 - 13:13

Originally posted by Lee Nicolle
Hi, I dont think so. Our cars were imported CKD and assembled, trimmed and glazed locally, as were Pontiacs which were also 6s until about 1960.....


Our Pontiacs also rode on Chevrolet chassis with Chevrolet wheels... which had a different stud pattern to those on US Pontiacs... this persisted until the mid-sixties when Pontiacs were dropped here. Not sure when the engine changeover came, but 1959 or 1960 was probably about right.

.....Aussie cars were often a little different to the US models, most were sourced out of Canada and we tended to make things more generic so the same parts were used on several models.
Ford and Chysler were similar also. Royals were Oz assembled with both Q engines and V8s as were Customlines and tank Fairlanes though they were all V8s.....


Because of the Commonwealth arrangements mentioned above, most stuff came from Canada, some came from England and there was still some US input as well.

The Royals were built on the '54 to '56 Plymouth/Dodge/De Soto chassis with extra overhang at both ends, the mid-section virtually untouched until they put a dip in the roofline in 1960 (the AP3) and ever-growing fins.

With regard to engines, the 230 flathead six came from the US, the 250 mostly came from Canada while it's evident some came from the Kew plant in England (that's where the ubiquitous 'Kew' nickname came from, it being quite incorrectly applied to all flathead six Chrysler by those who don't know about these facts) and the Poly V8s came from Canada, still at 313 cubic inches and with the old flywheel fixing and bellhousing pattern in 1963 while all others changed over in 1961.

The 230 was fitted to the lowest of the range, the straight 3-speed manuals. The 250 came when an overdrive was ordered, or if the six was to be an automatic. The V8s only had Powerflites in AP1 and AP2 models, cast iron Torqueflites in the AP3s except for the very last cars made.

Fairlanes had their sister models, the Custom 300s, which had the Ford six.

.....Other US models were assembled here too in small numbers, Dodge Phoinex plus a few Mustangs in the mid 60s, Ford Galaxies and I believe a few Caddys too.....


Very, very few Mustangs, I doubt that a hundred were brought in by Ford Australia...

The Phoenix was a US model from 1960 and 1961, then in '62 (when the model was dropped in the US) the Dart 440 was badged a Phoenix, '63 and '64 saw the Dodge 440 badged a Phoenix and '65 to the end (1971? Maybe 1972) it was Plymouth Furys with Dodge Phoenix badging. I seriously doubt that any Caddies were assembled here after WW2, but Galaxies were for a few years.




Advertisement

#152 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 14 November 2010 - 14:05

Our Pontiacs also rode on Chevrolet chassis with Chevrolet wheels... which had a different stud pattern to those on US Pontiacs... this persisted until the mid-sixties when Pontiacs were dropped here. Not sure when the engine changeover came, but 1959 or 1960 was probably about right.


That would be consistent with Canadian-built Pontiacs... Chevrolet wheelbase and drivetrain with Pontiac or Pontiac-styled sheet metal on the full-sized models. Ford and Chrysler manufactured similar oddities; it would take a book to sort them out. Many of these models went away with a new trade agreement in 1965, but it never disappeared. Up to the recent bankruptcy, GM Canada was constantly inventing new brand/division/product alignments. In recent years, GM has imported a number of models into Canada that are not available in the USA, mainly from the Pacific rim.

From the 'teens through the '50s, there were two sort of parallel auto industries operating on opposite sides of the Detroit River. Ford, GM, Chrysler, Studebaker, Hudson, et al, all had plants in Windsor that were easily visible from across the river in downtown Detroit. Many of these facilities were in/around the former town of Walkerville (after Hiram Walker, the Canadian distiller) which was later absorbed by the city of Windsor. Ford's Windsor operation had nearly 20,000 employees at one point and later became the base for small-block V8 manufacturing -- hence the Windsor V8. The former Ford test track is now a popular Windsor city park.


#153 Canuck

Canuck
  • Member

  • 1,689 posts
  • Joined: March 05

Posted 14 November 2010 - 14:46

Was GM Canada then a powerful (independent) arm of GM Corp then? I'd always assumed it was little more than the requisite head office for political and legal purposes that actually had no real control. It's that way with my current employer - they operate as nothing more than a political office to deal with various levels of Canadian government when they're closing entire plants with the right hand and simultaneously asking for handouts with the left.

What do we have here that the US market didn't? The only automotive brand that hit Canada before the US that I can recall is the Smart car line (which of course has naught to do with GM). I saw a couple of Holden-based models in the UAE running under GM badging that I'd wished were here, the foremost being the LS / 6-speed combo in a smaller 4-door sedan. Very much a poor-man's M5 (though it was rumoured to be just a poor-man's V-8 sedan).

Edited by Canuck, 14 November 2010 - 14:46.


#154 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 14 November 2010 - 18:14

Was GM Canada then a powerful (independent) arm of GM Corp then? I'd always assumed it was little more than the requisite head office for political and legal purposes that actually had no real control. It's that way with my current employer - they operate as nothing more than a political office to deal with various levels of Canadian government when they're closing entire plants with the right hand and simultaneously asking for handouts with the left.

What do we have here that the US market didn't? The only automotive brand that hit Canada before the US that I can recall is the Smart car line (which of course has naught to do with GM). I saw a couple of Holden-based models in the UAE running under GM badging that I'd wished were here, the foremost being the LS / 6-speed combo in a smaller 4-door sedan. Very much a poor-man's M5 (though it was rumoured to be just a poor-man's V-8 sedan).


The history of GM Canada roughly parallels that of Holden -- originally a locally-owned independent distributor/foreign branch manufacturer, eventually absorbed into the mothership as a wholly owned, private subsidiary. GM bought out McLaughlin, which had been manufacturing and distributing Buicks and Chevrolets in Canada, in around 1918. Until WWII, Canadian-built Buicks were known as McLaughlin-Buicks and often had better upholstery, more equipment, etc. Col. Sam McLaughlin served on GM's board of directors into the early '60s.

In more recent years, up there in Canuckistan you had two GM sales divisions that didn't exist in the USA -- Passport (1980s) and Asuna (1990s). They were roughly comparable to but rather differently configured than GM's Geo organization in the USA. These divisions were set up mainly to market co-manufactured or badge-engineered versions of Japanese/Asian, Other cars. Toyota, Isuzu, Suzuki, Daewoo. Very hard to keep straight with all the cross-distribution and cross-badging arrangements...a car might be available to you folks in Hosertania badged as a Chevrolet, but badged in the USA as a Suzuki or Daewoo or not available at all -- or it might distributed up there with its original branding but through GM dealers. One very recent example that comes to mind is the Chevrolet Epica, a Daewoo that is interesting only in that it was a fwd, transverse inline six. You also had something called the Asuna GT, which was sold here with somewhat different equipment as a Pontiac LeMans for a couple of weeks. And so on.

Edited by Magoo, 14 November 2010 - 18:17.


#155 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,256 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:45

Our Pontiacs also rode on Chevrolet chassis with Chevrolet wheels... which had a different stud pattern to those on US Pontiacs... this persisted until the mid-sixties when Pontiacs were dropped here. Not sure when the engine changeover came, but 1959 or 1960 was probably about right.



Because of the Commonwealth arrangements mentioned above, most stuff came from Canada, some came from England and there was still some US input as well.

The Royals were built on the '54 to '56 Plymouth/Dodge/De Soto chassis with extra overhang at both ends, the mid-section virtually untouched until they put a dip in the roofline in 1960 (the AP3) and ever-growing fins.

With regard to engines, the 230 flathead six came from the US, the 250 mostly came from Canada while it's evident some came from the Kew plant in England (that's where the ubiquitous 'Kew' nickname came from, it being quite incorrectly applied to all flathead six Chrysler by those who don't know about these facts) and the Poly V8s came from Canada, still at 313 cubic inches and with the old flywheel fixing and bellhousing pattern in 1963 while all others changed over in 1961.

The 230 was fitted to the lowest of the range, the straight 3-speed manuals. The 250 came when an overdrive was ordered, or if the six was to be an automatic. The V8s only had Powerflites in AP1 and AP2 models, cast iron Torqueflites in the AP3s except for the very last cars made.

Fairlanes had their sister models, the Custom 300s, which had the Ford six.



Very, very few Mustangs, I doubt that a hundred were brought in by Ford Australia...

The Phoenix was a US model from 1960 and 1961, then in '62 (when the model was dropped in the US) the Dart 440 was badged a Phoenix, '63 and '64 saw the Dodge 440 badged a Phoenix and '65 to the end (1971? Maybe 1972) it was Plymouth Furys with Dodge Phoenix badging. I seriously doubt that any Caddies were assembled here after WW2, but Galaxies were for a few years.

Reputedly 209 Mustangs over a couple of years were sold RHD. Very average conversions too!
The Caddy I know of was dealer brought in and converted as were quite a few imports 60s and early 70s of most major manufacturers.
New Zealand had a few odd US stuff converted and sold there too, some of which has migrated to Oz
Galaxies were sold here for about 10 years, just following on from Barge Fairlanes which were badged Galaxies in the States. I have never seen an Aussie 6 cylinder. Though there was in the US. My 71 had a huge range of engines from 240 6 to 429 but was advailable here in only 302W or 400M form.Though I have never seen a 302 powered one, just the original brochure.

The 'factory' conversions on a lot of these cars are very average, and often stupid. The Mustangs had the LHD steering box outside the chassis rail with a very weird draglink and pitman arm. Using a Falcon steering box would have made sense. A lot of heater units and dashboards really leave a lot to be desired. And often the US accescorys like power steering, aircond were not advailable because of all this.
Even F trucks which were sold in large volumes over a long period suffer this to a degree.
As has been said generally imported out of Canada which often had different models and variations to the US models.
I would guess quite probably the same for the South African cars also.
That is a market that got a few odd bods too from all of the big 3.
And sometimes theirs were better than the original car. A mate has had a South African imported 62 PA Vauxhall Cresta for 41 years!! and that is a better car than both the English and Aussie versions. A bit better trim and finish.

Edited by Lee Nicolle, 16 November 2010 - 21:14.


#156 NTSOS

NTSOS
  • Member

  • 692 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 15 November 2010 - 21:36

Here is an extraordinary period video depicting Fisher Body craftsmen during the design and assembly of a 1955 GM model. What is amazing is the amount of tooling and re-tooling that was required back in day when body styles used to change on a yearly basis and how quickly it must have been implemented.

It gets interesting after the 6 minute mark!

Fisher Body

John

#157 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,407 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 16 November 2010 - 15:29

Thanks NTSOS , a great video. I think the intro implies it was shown in cinemas in Detroit.

Interesting to se the old version of a digitizer, very direct copying!

I wonder how much of all this archive stuff has been kept, it would be shame to lose it.

#158 NTSOS

NTSOS
  • Member

  • 692 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 16 November 2010 - 16:06

Thanks NTSOS , a great video. I think the intro implies it was shown in cinemas in Detroit.

Interesting to se the old version of a digitizer, very direct copying!

I wonder how much of all this archive stuff has been kept, it would be shame to lose it.


Yes, I have been wondering that as well.......maybe Mac would know!

John

#159 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 16 November 2010 - 19:07

The company has kept a lot over the years, both on purpose and by accident, but has surely gotten rid of a lot more. Many probably don't appreciate the volume of material GM would have if it kept everything for the past 107 years. It would be larger than the public library of a good-sized city. And that's just literature and other archival material. GM's collection of historic vehicles currently numbers over 800 units, which is a lot of cars and trucks, but you'd be surprised at how many significant vehicles are not represented. Where do they stop?

Personally, I am a fan of the recent principle of parallel archiving. Perhaps the best way to preserve an artifact for posterity is to have one or two dozen examples out there in public and private circulation.

Advertisement

#160 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,256 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 16 November 2010 - 21:24

One would hope that a lot of that stuff was digitalised before it was destroyed. Though I they put a lot of it up for tender that would preserve some of the original stuff. [in private hands]
Motor companies are not really good at keeping good records it seems. Here in Oz numbers of cars sold and specifications are sometimes very flexible, as the manufacturer really do not know what they made. And that is sometimes in the last decade!! Spare parts manuals/ fish are often incomplete. Very annoying when trying to buy parts for supposedly common or garden cars that seem to be odd bods. Things like sway bar bushes, rack mounts, gear change linkages and in one case tierod ends that are not the norm for whatever reason.

#161 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 17 November 2010 - 00:39

Here is an extraordinary period video depicting Fisher Body craftsmen during the design and assembly of a 1955 GM model. What is amazing is the amount of tooling and re-tooling that was required back in day when body styles used to change on a yearly basis and how quickly it must have been implemented.

It gets interesting after the 6 minute mark!

Fisher Body

John


Thanks for the video, I love this stuff.

Yep, there was a lot of work in the annual facelifts and reskins. At around this time, the GM clay studio alone had hundreds of workers. But on the other hand, each division had only one or two platforms. A few years later the compacts came, then the intermediates, then the pony cars...




#162 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 17 November 2010 - 04:01

Was GM Canada then a powerful (independent) arm of GM Corp then? I'd always assumed it was little more than the requisite head office for political and legal purposes that actually had no real control. It's that way with my current employer - they operate as nothing more than a political office to deal with various levels of Canadian government when they're closing entire plants with the right hand and simultaneously asking for handouts with the left.


Interestingly enough, the largest GM plant in North America is in Oshawa, Ontario -- Oshawa Assembly Plants 1 and 2, aka the Autoplex. The 5th gen Camaro is built there, among other things.

Some might also find this trivia interesting... if you drive south down the main road (Stevenson) through the complex, make a right at the dead end and then go just a few hundred yards where the road starts to curve right, if you look out to the left toward Lake Ontario, you are looking at the site of Camp X, the secret British Intelligence/OSS WWII training camp -- not a half-mile from the back fence of the plant, directly across the street from the CAW union hall. It's a park now and there is a small memorial.

#163 NTSOS

NTSOS
  • Member

  • 692 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 17 November 2010 - 05:39

I googled "Camp X, the secret British Intelligence/OSS WWII training camp" and found a wealth of information on the subject including a terrific website I never knew existed.....thanks Mac! :up:

America in World War II

John

#164 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 17 November 2010 - 12:24

From Google maps... the area at upper right is the GM Oshawa complex, while the former Camp X is at lower left, labeled Intrepid Park. These two places have no connection I know of and did not exist at the same time, as Camp X closed when the war ended while the GM Oshawa south plants were not built until a few years later. But it just goes to show that wherever we go, we can find history all around us.


Posted Image




#165 NTSOS

NTSOS
  • Member

  • 692 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 17 November 2010 - 18:44

From Google maps... the area at upper right is the GM Oshawa complex, while the former Camp X is at lower left, labeled Intrepid Park. These two places have no connection I know of and did not exist at the same time, as Camp X closed when the war ended while the GM Oshawa south plants were not built until a few years later. But it just goes to show that wherever we go, we can find history all around us.


At least from the Google map photo, there appears to be little or nothing left of the Camp X site that would indicate that it was ever there........too bad!

Thanks!

John

#166 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,502 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 17 November 2010 - 18:54

At least from the Google map photo, there appears to be little or nothing left of the Camp X site that would indicate that it was ever there........too bad!

Thanks!

John

Standard British Intelligence proceedures, John - bury your campfire and walk out backwards, removing your footprints with a bunch of twigs. We learned a lot from the Native Americans.

#167 NTSOS

NTSOS
  • Member

  • 692 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 17 November 2010 - 21:58

Standard British Intelligence proceedures, John - bury your campfire and walk out backwards, removing your footprints with a bunch of twigs. We learned a lot from the Native Americans.



Ah........of course, right you are! :) :up:

John

#168 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:18

This is the Ford test track in Dearborn, Michigan, which is historically interesting in that it was originally Ford Airport, one of the first modern air fields in the world, with two concrete runways and a dirigible mast. Opened in 1924, it was also the home of the Stout and then Ford aircraft plants. The Dearborn Inn, just across Oakwood Boulevard to the west, was originally built to service the airport but is still in business today, and is a first-rate establishment btw. Ford Airport was operational through WWII, then gradually converted into a vehicle proving ground. The passenger terminal was torn down decades ago, but several of the original aircraft company buildings along Oakwood Blvd. are still in use today, one of them as an experimental engines lab. Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum are just visible at the upper left corner of the aerial photo. Also, there is a rather distinctive and stylish wall that encircles the airport/test track, which is officially known at Ford as the Dearborn Development Center. A few years ago the facility was completely renovated. Much of Ford engineering is based in the buildings along Rotunda Drive across the bottom of the photo, though Ford Racing is in another complex down the street.

Posted Image

Posted Image



#169 Grumbles

Grumbles
  • Member

  • 326 posts
  • Joined: September 09

Posted 22 November 2010 - 08:03

Interesting stuff. It aroused my curiosity re the Ford aircraft; Wikipedias entry on the Trimotor starts with this:

The story of the Ford Trimotor began with William Bushnell Stout, an aeronautical engineer who had previously designed several aircraft using principles similar to those of Professor Hugo Junkers, the noted German airplane designer.
Stout, a bold and imaginative salesman, sent a mimeographed form letter to leading manufacturers, blithely asking for $1,000 and adding: "For your one thousand dollars you will get one definite promise: You will never get your money back." Stout raised $20,000, including $1,000 each from Edsel and Henry Ford.[2]
In the early 1920s Henry Ford, along with a group of 19 other investors including his son Edsel, invested in the Stout Metal Airplane Company. In 1925, Ford bought Stout and its aircraft designs. The single-engine Stout design was turned into a multi-engine design the Stout 3-AT with three Curtiss-Wright air-cooled radial engines. After a prototype was built and test flown with poor results, a suspicious fire causing the complete destruction of all previous designs, the "4-AT" and "5-AT" emerged.
That the Ford Trimotor used an all-metal construction was not a revolutionary concept, but certainly more advanced than the standard construction techniques in the 1920s. The aircraft resembled the Fokker F.VII Trimotor, but unlike the Fokker, the Ford was all-metal, allowing Ford to claim it was "the safest airliner around." [3] Its fuselage and wings were constructed of aluminum alloy which was corrugated for added strength..


The rest of it is here.

#170 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 23 November 2010 - 12:49

This is the Chrysler Proving Grounds, which is about 50 miles west of Detroit. The banked oval track is 5.0 miles around and the scene of some interesting record runs and experiments over the years. The original heavy concrete surface laid down in 1953 or so was recently ground up for substrate and replaced with asphalt.

A few miles due north of this facility is the town of Chelsea, Michigan, a charming little place that features, among other things, the Common Grill, one of the finest restaurants in the Midwest. New cuisine, more or less, with a strong wine list. There's also a community theater that is owned and operated by the actor Jeff Daniels. A few miles north of town, in turn, is an area with a series of challenging roads -- sort of rare here in the flatlands -- often used for vehicle evaluation by the OEs, the car magazines, etc. So if you stop into the local gas station/convenience store and keep your eyes open, you might see some interesting machinery.

Posted Image





#171 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,502 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 23 November 2010 - 16:45

And I live in a country with over 2000 years of history - doesn't seem as interesting sometimes.

#172 OfficeLinebacker

OfficeLinebacker
  • Member

  • 14,022 posts
  • Joined: December 07

Posted 23 November 2010 - 17:04

This is the Chrysler Proving Grounds, which is about 50 miles west of Detroit. The banked oval track is 5.0 miles around and the scene of some interesting record runs and experiments over the years. The original heavy concrete surface laid down in 1953 or so was recently ground up for substrate and replaced with asphalt.

A few miles due north of this facility is the town of Chelsea, Michigan, a charming little place that features, among other things, the Common Grill, one of the finest restaurants in the Midwest. New cuisine, more or less, with a strong wine list. There's also a community theater that is owned and operated by the actor Jeff Daniels. A few miles north of town, in turn, is an area with a series of challenging roads -- sort of rare here in the flatlands -- often used for vehicle evaluation by the OEs, the car magazines, etc. So if you stop into the local gas station/convenience store and keep your eyes open, you might see some interesting machinery.

Posted Image

What about that mini-Darlington in the lower left? That extended paperclip track at the bottom also looks interesting.

#173 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,502 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 23 November 2010 - 17:12

Did the Nazca Indians get as far North as Michigan?

#174 PJGD

PJGD
  • Member

  • 78 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 23 November 2010 - 21:34

So Mac, there must be a story about why the Chrysler Proving Grounds are closer to Ford Dearborn than they are to Chrysler (Highland Park or Auburn Hills), and why the Ford Proving Grounds at Leonard are closer to Chrysler than they are to Ford by a long shot. It defies logic; why don't they just swap? And how do the two PG's compare (I assume you have been to both, not to mention GM's MPG).

I have lived in Metro-Detroit for 35 years now and have been in the Ford PG once, but never the Chrysler PG.

PJGD

#175 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 23 November 2010 - 23:14

So Mac, there must be a story about why the Chrysler Proving Grounds are closer to Ford Dearborn than they are to Chrysler (Highland Park or Auburn Hills), and why the Ford Proving Grounds at Leonard are closer to Chrysler than they are to Ford by a long shot. It defies logic; why don't they just swap? And how do the two PG's compare (I assume you have been to both, not to mention GM's MPG).

I have lived in Metro-Detroit for 35 years now and have been in the Ford PG once, but never the Chrysler PG.

PJGD


I think it has mainly to do with timing and circumstances...Ford just happened to have an old airport next door it didn't need anymore, so it was conveniently converted into a test track. Ford also has another, larger proving ground up in Romeo, and a couple of other odd facilities tucked away around town -- there's an oval track at the Plymouth Road transmission plant in Livonia. Ford also owned the former Packard Proving Grounds in Utica (featured up the thread a ways) for a time, but never used it as such, I don't think, though Chrysler used it during the war to test tanks or other treaded vehicles (?). Meanwhile, Chrysler didn't get around to building a big proving grounds in SE Michigan until well after the war (there was a small test track at Dodge Main) and by that time, the only large parcels of real estate available would be well out of town, naturally. (Of course, safety and security are also issues.) A few years ago I was sent a history of the Chelsea Proving Grounds (somebody's college thesis) that, If I recall properly, described a complicated dance between Chrysler, the old farmer who owned the bulk of the property, his neighbors, and the local powers that be, leading up to the sale. I'll have to dig through my files and see if I can find it.

The Ford Dearborn Development Center is fairly small, not nearly as large as Chrysler Chelsea or GM Milford, but as noted, Ford has other facilities, too. And as I'm sure you know, all the OEs have other test facilities out west, up in the frozen north, and elsewhere. GM now has a permanent shop at the Nurburgring. And just a few years ago, Chrysler bought Ford's Yucca, Arizona facility, while GM has closed its Mesa, AZ proving grounds and opened another one 200 miles west in Yuma. In the early '70s, American Motors used Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn -- you probably remember the AMC logo painted on the water tower. One OE racing program has been using Milan Dragway a lot; it can actually be easier to rent a track then to hack through all the red tape necessary to use a company facility... strange but true. The track got a new skid pad for free.

#176 PJGD

PJGD
  • Member

  • 78 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 24 November 2010 - 02:49

Thanks!

I remember reading an old Chrysler report that was written circa 1950; it was a fairly comprehensive competitive evaluation of a new British 4-door saloon/sedan, and for the ride and handling evaluation they drove up the "standard stretch" of Ryan Road from Highland Park. This use of a normal public highway suggests that they did not have a dedicated test track at that time.

Caterpillar had a somewhat similar experience to Chrysler in that when Cat wanted to build their new Tech Center and engine plant in Mossville IL in the 1950's, they purchased a farm on which it was to be built from an old boy who was in his 60's and ready to retire. Thinking that he would not live much longer, Cat agreed to the terms that they would maintain the old boy's house and adjacent property as long as he lived. Turns out the old boy got a good deal because he did not peg out until some time in the 1980's!

PJGD

#177 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,611 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 24 November 2010 - 04:35

Thanks!

I remember reading an old Chrysler report that was written circa 1950; it was a fairly comprehensive competitive evaluation of a new British 4-door saloon/sedan, and for the ride and handling evaluation they drove up the "standard stretch" of Ryan Road from Highland Park. This use of a normal public highway suggests that they did not have a dedicated test track at that time.

I don't really agree, cars are routinely assessed on particular bits of road even when a PG is available. If we like a piece of road we copy it, but we tend to like more bits of road than we can afford to copy. Oddly enough some of those pieces of road are in attractive destinations.

#178 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,256 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:05

There is still a helluva lot of testing done on public roads. The Aussie outback is or was a popular proving ground. And not just for Australian cars either.

#179 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 24 November 2010 - 12:25

I remember reading an old Chrysler report that was written circa 1950; it was a fairly comprehensive competitive evaluation of a new British 4-door saloon/sedan, and for the ride and handling evaluation they drove up the "standard stretch" of Ryan Road from Highland Park. This use of a normal public highway suggests that they did not have a dedicated test track at that time.


Some environments just can't be duplicated in a test facility and are only available in the real world. One Chrysler test route began at the Highland Park engineering garage, made a stop at a local restaurant to discuss various aspects of vehicle dynamics with local residents, then proceeded up Woodward Ave to I-696... usually around 2AM for optimum meteorological conditions.

Advertisement

#180 GrpB

GrpB
  • Member

  • 118 posts
  • Joined: February 09

Posted 24 November 2010 - 13:27

One OE racing program has been using Milan Dragway a lot; it can actually be easier to rent a track then to hack through all the red tape necessary to use a company facility... strange but true. The track got a new skid pad for free.

Sometimes it's more perceived red tape and the level of comfort with the people leading the effort. A marketing led racing organization will tend to populate the organization with like-minded people, as such if they don't have anyone in the building that's actually done work at a proving ground as part of their job function, then the perception will be that it's difficult to do what you need to do in an 'official' test environment. Ask the guys at the proving ground and they will say that the 'racing' guys just stopped coming around. Duplicating Milan dragway configurations/surfaces for testing is not as unrealistic as duplicating, say Grattan or Mid O...

Doing racing/performance development in-house serves not just to maximize use of existing resources without spending 'real' money, it also serves to energize the internal workforce; whether employees are directly involved or not, being aware of and seeing that kind of thing in person can really help to bring a sense of connection and purpose to employees. It may not help sell new cars, but improving morale definitely helps make better cars.



#181 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 24 November 2010 - 15:35

Don't even get me started.

#182 cheapracer

cheapracer
  • Member

  • 10,388 posts
  • Joined: May 07

Posted 24 November 2010 - 15:54

whether employees are directly involved or not, being aware of and seeing that kind of thing in person can really help to bring a sense of connection and purpose to employees. It may not help sell new cars, but improving morale definitely helps make better cars.


Right to the point when they stop it for no obvious reason.

#183 PJGD

PJGD
  • Member

  • 78 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 24 November 2010 - 23:16

I don't really agree, cars are routinely assessed on particular bits of road even when a PG is available. If we like a piece of road we copy it, but we tend to like more bits of road than we can afford to copy. Oddly enough some of those pieces of road are in attractive destinations.


A problem here in Michigan where the roads are subject to frost heave and inadequate maintenance is that your favourite stretch of road for ride evaluation only lasts a year or two and then it has changed to the point that comparisons with past tests are pretty much meaningless. I assume that the standard way around this is to make an A-B-A comparison with a known "control" vehicle. I know that Peugeot always kept a 404 on hand to remind everyone what a supple ride should feel like.

An example of copying is of course the Pavé track at MIRA which was copied from some abominable stretch of road in post-war Belgium......

PJGD

#184 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,611 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 24 November 2010 - 23:18

The obvious problem with doing limit tests at a PG rather than a race track is that you have to get the slow movers off the circuit. Guess what, those slow movers aren't working on your project, they are working on their project, with their own schedule. So if we close the oval for some max speed work, suddenly 3 other programs are bitching about the delay to their tests.

There are workarounds, for example the handling group has their own private test area, so they can control who uses it. That's great, but can only be paid for by virtue of having 4 programs generating the funds to pay for it. Also if you need to work on a closed circuit it may be available at weekends (after dark isn't really an option due to the kangaroos).

In the past year alone we've worked at Winton, Phillip Island and Anglesea, for exactly that sort of reason. I also used to hire Avalon airfield, but I think Jetstar wouldn't be very keen on that now.



#185 GrpB

GrpB
  • Member

  • 118 posts
  • Joined: February 09

Posted 25 November 2010 - 00:38

Sure, to do dedicated road course testing it's best to use a real roadcourse, but for shakedown runs and free form get-a-feel work it's easy to work in with regular PG traffic, same as any other common resource, everyone just needs to plan ahead/communicate and know how to share. On the other hand there have been (too) many times that a race car comes fresh built off the trailer for the $$$/day track rental only to find out something very simple (a clunk, fluid leak, valving waay off, etc) is wrong, and now instead of being hundreds of feet from garages with tow vehicles, lifts, tools, fixtures, spares, intranet access etc. you're off in nowhere-ville with whatever is in the trailer and whoever came out. Unfortunately that is often the norm rather than the exception with 'racing' programs. There is much to be said for the methodology of mainstream vehicle development, plodding though it may seem.

#186 Greg Locock

Greg Locock
  • Member

  • 4,611 posts
  • Joined: March 03

Posted 25 November 2010 - 02:25

you're off in nowhere-ville

Ah, you've been to Winton.

#187 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 27 November 2010 - 13:11

Along with a world-class airport, Henry Ford owned a railroad. In 1920 he bought the Detroit, Toledo, and Ironton Railroad, a decrepit little line that had gone bankrupt multiple times and was known as "the railroad to nowhere" for its tangle of meandering right-of-ways. However, it did have a main line that ran north to south from Detroit to the Ohio River and thus had a connection with every major road across the Midwest, which allowed Henry to negotiate much more economical through fees for his own cargo to and from the Rouge.

In order to further frighten the rail industry into cooperating, HF I thoroughly rebuilt the railroad, firing its layers of management and updating all the rolling stock, and in 1929 he sold the company to the Pennsylvania Railroad. But before he did, he performed the interesting experiment below. He briefly electrified one branch that ran from the Rouge south to Flat Rock, then west through Carleton almost to Maybee, Michigan, a distance of over 40 miles. To support the wires, the DT & I built these catenary towers or trestles. The towers currently run from just north of Oakwood Boulevard to just south of Eureka road, but the foundations for them are still present all the way west. (I snapped these a few mornings ago just north of Pelham Road.) They are generally between 200 and 300 feet apart, depending on curve and grade. Also, still standing just north of Southfield are about a dozen doubled versions of these same trestles to support four sets of track. Though no longer electrified, the former DT & I road is still in use today, operated by the Canadian Northern. Being mainly concrete, the towers have (unlike track) little salvage value, apparently, so it seems they just stand there until they get in the way or start to crumble, and a few more are torn down.

In the mid-late '20s there were a number of electric railways in the USA, mainly for interurban passenger travel. Ford's plan was to use excess electrical production from the Rouge to power his heavy freight road, and two giant electric locomotives were built using Westinghouse motor-generators. However, the surplus electrical capacity never materialized, apparently, and the experiment was abandoned. The DT & I ran steam until after the war, then switched to EMD diesel-electrics with very distinctive colors and graphics until it went out of business. But we still have these interesting local landmarks stretching downriver for many miles.

Posted Image




#188 OfficeLinebacker

OfficeLinebacker
  • Member

  • 14,022 posts
  • Joined: December 07

Posted 27 November 2010 - 15:28

You mean this color scheme, M?
Posted Image

#189 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,502 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 28 November 2010 - 00:03

Posted Image

Nice photo.

#190 Terry Walker

Terry Walker
  • Member

  • 2,721 posts
  • Joined: July 05

Posted 28 November 2010 - 10:38

It is indeed a lovely photo, McGoo.

What's fun is that those concrete arches are easily visible on Google Map.

I don't understand one tenth of what I read on this forum, but it fascinates me endlessly.

Mind you, I'm on my sixth can of my local Aussie Lager. If you listen carefully, you can hear the beer can top pop.

If I don't post here in the next few weeks, my best wishes for the festive season.

Terry

#191 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,502 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 28 November 2010 - 11:14

If you listen carefully, you can hear the beer can top pop.

If I don't post here in the next few weeks, my best wishes for the festive season.

I wondered what that noise was, I thought my speakers were on the way out. Best wishes to you too.

Edited by Tony Matthews, 28 November 2010 - 17:31.


#192 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 28 November 2010 - 17:19

You mean this color scheme, M?
Posted Image


Yep, that's one of them I remember. You must be a railfan?

#193 Lee Nicolle

Lee Nicolle
  • Member

  • 6,256 posts
  • Joined: July 08

Posted 29 November 2010 - 10:31

With that color scheme they wont get lost in the snow!!

#194 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 54,454 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 30 November 2010 - 14:14

Fascinating stuff, Maguire...

Looks like duplication of the line was also provided for... or is it that it was a double line and one has been pulled up?

#195 OfficeLinebacker

OfficeLinebacker
  • Member

  • 14,022 posts
  • Joined: December 07

Posted 30 November 2010 - 16:10

Yep, that's one of them I remember. You must be a railfan?

Just a causal interest, and I love looking stuff up on wikipedia and Google images.

#196 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 30 November 2010 - 22:55

Fascinating stuff, Maguire...

Looks like duplication of the line was also provided for... or is it that it was a double line and one has been pulled up?


yes, exactly... there were originally two lines there.

Given recent prices for high-grade steel, at ~100 lbs per foot they've been pretty good lately about pulling up rail where it isn't required. The railroads own zillions of miles of copper wire in their signal systems as well... I understand there is a whole science involved in when to pull up trackage and when to leave it, relative to metals prices, capital gains, deviation from mean rotation of the earth, etc. There is also considerable value in the right-of-way for communications, fiber-optics, etc. I wouldn't pretend to understand it all.

#197 mariner

mariner
  • Member

  • 1,407 posts
  • Joined: January 07

Posted 01 December 2010 - 15:40

Magoo with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Detroit may be able to verify or deny the following old railroad story.

When Henry Ford bought the D T and I railroad he apparently did not see why rail lines spent so much money on ballasting and sleepers/ties. to him a railroad was just a road so a concrete base would be OK and cheaper. The rail engineers tried to explain that the ballast was needed to provide some flexing to absorb the axle loads and, with the big connecting rods on steam engines not being fully balanced, to absorb "hammer blow".

HF said "bunk" or something similar and as he owned it all and paid the bills the rail guys laid down a stretch of his concrete track. Quick test , steam engine comes rolling down the conventional track happily then goes onto the solid concrete version and promptly rattles off the rails to prove HF understood a bit less about engineering than , say, Fred Lanchester. At least he had the money and stubborness to try it out.

Funnily enough modern railroads often use concrete track in tunnels etc. today but with elastomer vibration pads. No steam engines means no hammer blow but unsprung weight is one of the limiters on speed so high speed trains use multiple small motors along the train partially to reduce unsprung weight issues which cause very rapid track damage at 300 kph etc.

#198 Magoo

Magoo
  • Member

  • 2,554 posts
  • Joined: October 10

Posted 01 December 2010 - 17:00

Magoo with his encyclopedic knowledge of all things Detroit may be able to verify or deny the following old railroad story.

When Henry Ford bought the D T and I railroad he apparently did not see why rail lines spent so much money on ballasting and sleepers/ties. to him a railroad was just a road so a concrete base would be OK and cheaper. The rail engineers tried to explain that the ballast was needed to provide some flexing to absorb the axle loads and, with the big connecting rods on steam engines not being fully balanced, to absorb "hammer blow".

HF said "bunk" or something similar and as he owned it all and paid the bills the rail guys laid down a stretch of his concrete track. Quick test , steam engine comes rolling down the conventional track happily then goes onto the solid concrete version and promptly rattles off the rails to prove HF understood a bit less about engineering than , say, Fred Lanchester. At least he had the money and stubborness to try it out.

Funnily enough modern railroads often use concrete track in tunnels etc. today but with elastomer vibration pads. No steam engines means no hammer blow but unsprung weight is one of the limiters on speed so high speed trains use multiple small motors along the train partially to reduce unsprung weight issues which cause very rapid track damage at 300 kph etc.


I have heard that very same story myself, and while I have never seen it corroborated in print, it has the ring of truth for me because this is exactly how Ford approached everything. He believed in experiment and was very skeptical of the pronouncements of experts; in fact, he delighted in proving them wrong. A concrete rail bed is exactly the sort of the idea that would appeal to HF I, particularly in light of his obsessions with standardization and high-volume production.

Ford had very little formal technical training and it was more or less established in a court of law (in his libel suit against the Chicago Tribune) that he could barely read. It's been said he couldn't really follow a blueprint. We do know he didn't like to read drawings; he much preferred working models and kept a staff of people who were adept at building them. He was a supreme believer in his own mechanical instincts and intuition. After all, one of his ideas, the Model T, had made him the richest man on earth. As a result, nobody could really tell him anything; they could only show him and even then he often wasn't convinced.

This approach worked well enough as Ford concentrated on production rather than product -- Ford's true interest was always in the former rather than the latter -- but far less effectively once car buyers progressed beyond the Model T. The Ford experimental department wasn't a real R&D organization but more of a small crew of skilled craftsmen who could physically recreate Henry's thinking in three dimensions. In their spare time they were allowed to explore other areas and if an idea worked out and Henry liked it, it then became Henry's idea. It was cut-and-try in the purest literal sense, and in large part based on the approach of his hero, Thomas Edison. In another famous story that is absolutely true, Ford was told the company needed a metallurgist. Unimpressed, Ford pointed to a floor sweeper and said "make him a metallurgist." (And as it turned out, he became a pretty good one.) But as a result of Ford's basic philosophy, the product fell further and further behind. The Model A is fairly primitive compared to the contemporary Chevrolet or Plymouth and by the late '30s, Ford engineering had virtually no technical capabilities compared to those of GM, Chrysler, and Packard. And by this time, Henry was a very old man, beyond intransigent but with no board of directors or higher authority to keep him in check. Many, including myself, believe that if his wife Clara and daughter-in-law Eleanor hadn't interceded and replaced him with his grandson, HF II, the company wouldn't have survived.



#199 PLANE1

PLANE1
  • New Member

  • 3 posts
  • Joined: November 10

Posted 07 December 2010 - 03:24

Hi folks - wonderful shots of Oz 6 - well done - was interested to see the U.S. JEEP plant was 400v. d.c. - am elec. eng. as well as aviation a+p - d.c. power was used here in Sydney also - 112 v. d.c. i think - 400v. d.c. is quite lethal if mis handled - think of the arc a 400v. d.c. welder can produce - some modern fighter aircraft are back on 200 v. d.c. power after many yrs on 208v. - 400hz a.c. power - as on Boeings etc. - smaller aircraft / helos are still 28v. d.c. - can you advise how to insert a shot / pix pls Tony ? - thanx J.C.

Advertisement

#200 Ian G

Ian G
  • Member

  • 1,069 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 07 December 2010 - 10:35

Info on posting pics....Pics.

Interesting thread.

Edited by Ian G, 07 December 2010 - 10:37.